Huge rise in the number of spams sent!

Last month the amount of spam that was send across the world increased by a whopping 35%, given that more than 90% of e-mail send is spam this is causing serious trouble for regular users like you and me as well as e-mail providers as this reduces the usability and reliability of the service.

David Mayer, product manager Ironport systems said "From 31 billion spams a day on average in October 2005 to 63 billion in October 2006. But in November, we saw two surges that averaged 85 billion messages a day, one from Nov. 13 to 22, the other from Nov. 26 to 28."

This current rate of increase was beyond the expectations of internet analysts.Many are pointing out the new methodologies like the extensive use of images in the spam messages instead of text, surge in botnet (zombies) usage by spammers, the increased number of URLs that are available to spammers and under developed spam filters. Most of the current generation spam filters are not efficient in managing messages that contains images.

The profit motive work that the spammers are doing has made spamming to a whole new "professional" level.They are always first in introducing innovative ways to penetrate into users in-boxes.The application of hacking technologies in the junk mail "industry" has increased manifold from last yesr.Thanks to new softwares, from fetching e-mail addresses to fooling spam filters everything can be accomplished with easy to use software.

In mid-November, IronPort witnessed a new, massive spam attack that dropped filter efficiency by more than 10 percentage, letting millions of messages through to in-boxes."It's a reaction gap," says Mayer. "It takes time for vendors to respond and come up with appropriate rules, but with their distributed [botnet] networks, spammers can send a huge attack in a matter of hours. It takes time for anti-spam solutions to catch up with the attack."

The spam volumes of this month is as same as that of November itself, analysts believe that year 2007 will be a tough year ahead for anti spam vendors around the world."There's a realistic probability that volumes will increase," Mayer says. "It's a game of economics; there's a lot of money to be made and [thus] a lot of innovation on their part.
The increased efficiency of todays hardware, high speed internet connectivity, security vulnerabilities in popular consumer software that make hijacking PCs etc are positive factors for spammers.As Mayer says "It's going to be a long battle."

News source: Information Week

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41 Comments

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I've been getting alot of spam that is in Russian lately, yet I've never went to any sites that were in Russian... must be auto send bots or something, but yeah lately spam does seem on the increase.

Some jerk sent me over 100 spam emails today, all of them using a different from names like Rob, Jane, Mark, Steve, etc and all having to do with loans or something. I'm used to spam but that many from the same person in one day is just ludicrous. I'd like to have a few moments with this guy's computer(s), and a baseball bat.

Yeah that's all good but when are the big companies and Internet authorities going to get together and do something about the problem?

When it costs less to take collective action than it does to install an appliance.

Doesn't anyone use SPF?Open SPF

for my server if mail fails rdns & spf check, it's flagged as spam and deleted.

If the account doesn't exist the message is deleted and no delivery failure is sent. This has become a requirement because instead of using open relays and proxies, spammers are sending messages by leveraging delivery failure/bounce messages.

Maybe someday someone will replace the 30+ year old SMTP spec that was actually written on a napkin, and submitted only as a request for commentary. I read this somewhere in a discussion with the creator, who said he never thought anyone was going to use it, since he never received any feedback, until to his surprise, he discovered years later, piles of programs openly using his unfinished protocol sketch.

I can vouch for these numbers. The other day our greylisting box went down and started letting everything through. Within hours our spam appliances were overrun with junk. It's pretty bad and the sad thing is, these spammers now at this point are more malicious than they are advertising venues. Who the hell actually looks at these messages and buys something from them?

I think I get almost 100 spam mails / day on my Gmail address and I don't really have a clue why.
It seems to be slowly increasing too, but maybe that's related to the trend mentioned in this article. :(

I never give away my address for random web sites anyway, and of course never in public on forums. :(

A guess is that they guessed my forename + surname combo as it's using the ordinary forename.surname format. Then they saw it worked (no mail server error sent back) and it spread. Thankfully, Gmail's filters work well enough that I don't use to get much more than 1 spam mail through per day or so.

Yeah that's all good but when are the big companies and Internet authorities going to get together and do something about the problem?

Prevent spammers from sending spam? That's a job for the goverment in every country, giving huge fines for spam, and appoint a group who catches spammers in their country.
Gmail, and other mail servies blocks about 99,999% of the spam I get. So the problem is not huge for me.

Other solution may be changing the way e-mail works.

I receive a hell lot of spam because of my earlier carelessness of posting my email address everywhere, and no spam filter has succeeded in stopping the continuous junk as of yet.

The current rise in the number of spams sent throughout the world seems to have something to do with the holidays season. Every business tries to sell and earn more in the holidays, so does the spammers' squad.

There is an OCR plug-in for SpamAssassin (can’t remember the name of it), it has somewhat helped to relieve the added problem of image spam over the last couple of months.

Simple. Turn on your junk mail filter in Hotmail/WLM and report any junk mail you recieve after that. I did that and it cut my junk mail down from 4-5 a day to ZERO... EVER!

I had a delusional thought yesterday, wouldn't it be nice if for one day of the whole year spamers just turned off their servers and stopped sending spam for Christmas. It's quite sad turning on your computer on Christmas day and receiving a bunch of spam.

I'll blame some of this on that moron we have in office acting as a President. Won't even mention his name. He's so worried about trying to save his dad's face and now his own. the government/FCC is doing NOTHING about this!!

Quote - cork1958 said @ #9
I'll blame some of this on that moron we have in office acting as a President. Won't even mention his name. He's so worried about trying to save his dad's face and now his own. the government/FCC is doing NOTHING about this!! :x

Okay. That was so idiotic I had to reply. From the tone of the post I’m guessing you’re one of those liberal/socialist “government has to take care of everything for me since I can’t take care of myself” types.

First, however much people disagree with him, George W. Bush is not a moron -- if you've ever looked up the definition and his college and standardized test scores you'd know that. Second, and more to the point of this thread, the US government (which includes the FCC) cannot enforce laws on persons or companies outside of the United States. And trying to coordinate enforcement with foreign governments is no piece of cake.

What needs to happen in order to fix the problem of SPAM is a complete rewrite of the SMTP protocol. It is a trusting protocol, developed decades ago, when the Internet was in its infancy and people weren’t inclined to abuse e-mail. It uses very limited, if any, security methods to verify the authenticity of the sender.

Spam is being sent out for several reasons. The major one has nothing to do with the idiotic products they supposedly sell, the main aim is to install a trojan so as to steal credit card deals (or turn the machine into a bot) or attract someone to a phishing site.

I don't understand that sending out spam is still worth it... how can it even result in money these days? Anybody receiving messages like 'y0uR d!ck 2 sm@ll?' already knows that these messages are full of crap... I wonder how many people still click on those links in those spam mails...??

you are both doing something wrong lol i get almost none on my account, since i use another to register in most forums and such, and that one is pretty full.
Try not using your real (most used) email account on register forms and you'll most likely be ok unless you start cliking yes on every activex prompt the comes your way.

I get hundreds a day in total spread over my primary e-mail, and the spam messages that Spam Assassin doesn't catch on my business e-mails (which get piped to my primary e-mail)

I usually get about 5 per hour. Sometimes more. Thankfully, between the spam filters in Outlook and Yahoo!, I rarely get any of them directed to my Inbox.